I do not believe there is never a case for ever deploying a SPW. There is. And when there is, that is what you should deploy. However, 9/10 times I’m asked to build a SPW, it is objectively the wrong thing to do. In brief, as Speider Schneider put it quite succinctly:
When the desire to be trendy overpowers the need to fulfil user goals, your design is in serious trouble.
It seems a simple way to assess the desirability of a SWP is by asking these 2 questions:
- Is SEO at all important?
- Do you have a lot of content?
If the answer is yes to either of these, then it’s a no-brainer. A SPW should be ruled out immediately.
The SEO question should be obvious. The question of content however is explained by performance (page speed). The more content you have to cram into one page, the more you will have to invest in negating the performance burden of a browser having to load a ton of resources.
But lets take it further. Lets say SEO is not a at all a consideration (unlikely), and that you do not have sufficient content to warranty performance concerns. In this case should you opt for a SPW?
So when should you implement a SPW?
Acknowledging your content is not going to imply performance issues, SPWs can work very well for narrowly defined products or services. Not only does a SPW allow you to tell a story in a very UX friendly way, provided the page is well optimised, SEO may even be better in this exceptional circumstance.
Further, SPWs work exceedingly well on mobile devices, where swiping to scroll is a familiar and intuitive gesture. Mobile is close enough to half of web surfing activity these days if not more, so it can make sense.
THE 2 MYTHS
“It’s trendy / sexy”. No. No it isn’t. It can be, if done right and for the right reasons. But you’ve been lied to. SPWs are not per-se trendy or sexy. More often than not, the experience is lack lustre and undesirable entirely.